Michigan State Students Cameron Armstrong & Di Wang Win 2016 Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) Student Case Competition
Students Provided Solutions on “How to Best Reach Chinese Millennials via Social Media”
The Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) today announced that senior Cameron Armstrong and junior Di Wang of Michigan State University were selected as the 2016 winners of the Tenth Annual HAMA Student Case Competition. The MSU team was chosen from a select field of top hotel schools that also included the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Denver. Student teams researched and prepared a case study from a list of topics that currently impact the hotel industry.
"Each year, I continue to be more impressed by the level of sophistication and insight from tomorrow's future hotel leaders," said Kim Gauthier, HAMA education chair and senior vice president of Hotel Asset Value Enhancement. "While these students still are in the learning phase of their very young careers, their perspectives shine new and interesting light on problems that we deal with on a daily basis as professional asset managers. It is HAMA's goal to embrace and nurture these young minds as they grow into our industry."
Working with a HAMA member and their respective university professors, student participants were required to give a multi-part presentation, complete with research paper and accompanying PowerPoint, over the course of two sessions that included initial and revised findings. Topics included "Rising Minimum Wage," "Rising Health Care," "Social Media Management Issues and Trends," "Room Design – What Does the Future Room Look Like," "Out-of-Control Third-Party Commissions (Primarily Group Airbnb/VRBO)," "Alternatives for Room Service," and "Wi-Fi Solutions."
Winners received an all-expense-paid trip to HAMA's Spring Meeting in Boston to meet and network with some of the industry's leading hotel asset managers. In addition to the award presentation, the two-day event also hosted a number of informational sessions and group meetings to discuss the latest industry trends and share best practices.
"With governmental restrictions on sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is a challenge to reach Chinese Millennials via social media," noted Wang. "That being said, there certainly are Chinese equivalent sites that allow hoteliers to reach this hugely profitable traveling segment."
"Our goal was to find alternatives that allow socially proactive organizations to place better advertising and interaction opportunities in front of this target audience," added Armstrong. "This competition has been a huge learning experience for us, not just regarding this immediate issue, but through working with established asset managers and seeing things from that discipline's viewpoint. This award really validates our decision to pursue careers within the hospitality industry."
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HAMA members are involved in asset management, acquisition, financing and disposition of hotels and resorts and are directly responsible for making decisions concerning capital investments, renovations, asset repositioning, operational policies and management selection. Its U.S. members represent more than 3,500 hotels and resorts across every major brand, accounting for 775,000 hotel rooms, 250,000 employees, $40 billion in annual revenue and $3 billion in capital expenditures.